Social media is an essential resource for entrepreneurs, providing networking opportunities only a click away. Social platforms allow you to provide updates and solicit feedback from clients and suppliers, while at the same time expanding your network. Online marketing efforts can crash and burn, however, when these channels are used in off-putting or time-wasting ways. To avoid this, learn to recognize the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make on social media platforms.
1. Failing to research your audience's social media habits.
Networking through social media provides an excellent opportunity to get to know your target demographic better. As an entrepreneur, it's essential to understand your target audience's wants and needs. This extends to their use of social media. If you're focusing your efforts on Facebook and Pinterest when your core audience is on Twitter and Instagram, you'll be missing out on a key opportunity to connect. Conduct the necessary research before you ramp up your digital marketing efforts.
2. Inconsistent branding across platforms.
Does your company Facebook profile match the image of your main business website? Take the time to customize your Twitter and Facebook profiles with your website's brand and message. Consistency helps cement your online presence, making your brand more universally recognizable.
3. Failing to show personality.
If you only post dry business updates about your latest sales figures, you shouldn't be surprised when you don't gain any new followers. A good general rule is to only make one out of five posts promotional in nature. Let your personality shine through, and share your thoughts as well as articles and infographics that your audience might find entertaining. People want to do business with other people, not faceless corporations.
4. Posting negative comments.
At the same time, some opinions are best kept to yourself. Don't use your business's social media profile as an opportunity to vent about problem clients or the competition. Negativity is both unprofessional and a major turn-off to followers.
5. Throwing yourself into every new network.
Are you thinking about expanding your social media presence to newer networks like Vine and Ello? Make sure you're not just getting caught up in the buzz of new platforms. If your customer base isn't there or the platform doesn't match your brand, it's not worth your time.
6. Only submitting one-way updates.
It may seem obvious that social media provides the opportunity for conversation, but it's surprising how many entrepreneurs fail to engage with their audience. If all you're doing is throwing out updates without taking the time to respond to comments, your followers will stop bothering to comment altogether.
7. Not using analytics tools.
You probably track visitors to your business website, but are you doing the same with your social media accounts? Download analytics tools that allow you to follow the popularity of your posts, where your followers are coming from, and feedback that you've received.
8. Relying too heavily on social media for networking.
Finally, don't think that social media is the end-all and be-all of business networking. It's a good start, but you'll also need to pursue other traditional marketing channels at the same time. These tips provide a good jumping-off point if you need help getting started with networking.
Avoid these mistakes and you'll increase your chances of growing your network using social media. By keeping your expectations realistic and engaging with your audience regularly, you should start to see a satisfying return on your investment.
Rachel MacDonald is a business copywriter with over five years of experience writing web copy and promotional materials for an array of international clients.